Alessandro del Piero has 12 goals this campaign. Image courtesy of fifa.com/Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
There is no doubt that Sydney FC is a better team now than the one monstered 7-2 by Central Coast earlier in the season, but with just four games left before the finals, the Sky Blues need to find winning form sooner rather than later if they’re to move from eighth place in to the top six. The good news is Sydney has won its last five at the Sydney Football Stadium, but the bad news for Frank Farina’s side is that it has dropped its last two, including last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Perth Glory.
This match has lost some of its lustre with Lucas Neill’s first appearance in front of his Sydney fans delayed by at least a week after he suffered a calf injury at training on Tuesday. That has compounded the loss of defender Fabio who was handed his second red card of the season last weekend. It’s not as if Sydney FC doesn’t have enough trouble defending when it has a full complement of players given the team has conceded a goal in each of its last 10 matches. In fact, both teams have scored in the Sydneysiders’ last nine A-League fixtures.
After three matches in the space of seven days, it was no big surprise to see the Mariners go down 1-0 to the Wanderers last weekend, handing Western Sydney its eighth straight win. Graham Arnold has pretty much his full squad to choose from, but he may shuffle his side around with an AFC Champions League match against Kashiwa Reysol to come next week.
Central Coast needs to win to have a realistic chance of catching Western Sydney in the race for the Premier’s Plate. The Mariners will be wary of their closest rival, though, after falling 1-0 thanks to a Brett Emerton header in their last clash in late 2012.
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